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History! Eagles Storm Back To Stun Fairfield For First-Ever Playoff Win

Posted on: November 3, 2018

A historic win came in epic fashion on Friday night as Milford stormed back from a 35-7 deficit a minute into the third quarter to knock off a stunned Fairfield squad 39-35. The victory is Milford’s first-ever in the OHSAA Playoffs and advances the Eagles to take on Colerain, Ohio’s No. 1 team next Friday night.

 

A resilient Eagle team rallied for 32 straight points after a nightmarish start to the second half that saw Fairfield score twice in 20 seconds. Cameron Kells’ one-yard run with 1:28 remaining put a capper on the comeback that sent a full house at Eagle Stadium into a frenzy.

 

First Quarter

  • The early stages of the night’s action made it look like defense was going to rule the night. Fairfield got on the board first when Peyton Brown took a sweep into the end zone from four yards out. The scoring play was set-up when Fairfield star TB Jutahn McClain raced 38 yards on a reception from QB Jeff Tyus. The jaunt was costly for McClain as he was forced from the game until late in the second half with an arm injury.
  • After a rough three and out on its first drive, the Eagles answered with a 12-play, 79-yard scoring drive, but it took until fourth down at the three for the Eagles to convert. A drive that was keyed by a Kells 15-yard reception and a 35-yard catch by Jake Ayler to the Fairfield one, finally ended when Hunter Johnson found a wide open Connor Foster for the score.

 

Second Quarter

  • The early stages of the second quarter saw Fairfield use its speed and big play ability to score again and once more it was Brown. After a Milford punt, Tyus found Brown in the flat and the speedy senior did the rest, racing 45 yards to paydirt.
  • With the Eagle offense struggling, the defense tried to keep it close and appeared to when it forced a Fairfield punt near midfield. But all-everything TE Erick All, a University of Michigan commit, fooled the Eagles, taking a fake punt 44 yards for a TD and a quick 21-7 Fairfield
  • The Eagle offense started to hum again before the half when Johnson found a streaking Dylan Hughes for a 41-yard gain down to the Fairfield But again the Indian defense tightened and on fourth and goal from the eight, Elijah Hatfield picked off Johnson to snuff out the Eagle drive.

 

Third Quarter

  • Still very much alive down 21-7 at the half, the second half couldn’t have started any worse for the home team as Fairfield scored twice in just 40 seconds. First Hajiere Pitts ran the opening kickoff back 86 yards to the Milford one, setting up a Tyus one-yard run. Then, on Milford’s first offensive play of the half, Johnson was picked off by Jaydan Mayes. A hustling Ayler tracked Mayes down at the Milford one-yard line, causing a fumble, but Hatfield jumped on the loose ball in the end zone. Everyone inside Eagle Stadium was stunned as Fairfield suddenly led 35-7.
  • Milford started to chip into the deficit the next time it touched the ball with a Johnson to Jared Engelman 48-yard catch and run getting the Eagles in business. With 8:43 showing, Kells dove in from a yard out and Grace Ertel’s PAT made it 35-14.
  • After the two teams traded punts on successive drives, Milford tried to steal the momentum, thanks to a huge play by senior DL CT Phillips. With the Indians’ Tyus dropping back to pass, Phillips broke threw and ripped the ball from the QB’s hands, recovering the fumble and handing the ball back to the Eagles. A costly mistake by Fairfield was doubled when Tyus remained on the turf injured at the end of the play.
  • Milford couldn’t capitalize on the turnover, though as Johnson was intercepted by Phoenix Porter. Milford got the ball back a few plays later though when Cameron Hemmert recovered a fumble by Michael Ampofo-Mensah.
  • The fumble recovery set up Johnson as he connected with Hughes on the play’s second drive from 23 yards out. With the third quarter drawing to a close, the Eagles had trimmed the deficit to 35-21.

 

Fourth Quarter

  • The monster fourth quarter comeback began with the Eagle D getting an early stop. Kells, bottled up for most of the first three quarters, finally broke loose, racing 64 yards down the left sideline as the key play on the drive. Milford’s star runner scored his second TD of the night just a few plays later and despite a missed PAT, the Eagles all the sudden were to within 35-27.
  • Next, the Eagle defense got a stop again and the Milford air attack kept it going when it got the ball back. Ayler picked up a key nine-yard reception on fourth and three and on the next snap, Johnson found a wide open Hughes for a 35-yard bomb that made it 35-33 with 4:07 to play after a failed two-point conversion.
  • After returning early in the quarter, McClain nearly broke Milford’s hearts all by himself on Fairfield’s first play. The Indians’ fleet footed back took a handoff up the middle, turned on the jets and raced 65 yards before Milford’s Dustin Laudermilk chased him down. Two plays later, a stunning play call by Fairfield with Tyus still sidelined gave Milford one last shot. Laudermilk stepped in front of a Sawiaha Ellis pass and with 3:21 to play, the ball belonged to the Eagles at the Fairfield 14.
  • On the next three plays, Johnson connected with Ayler for 26 yards, Hughes for 33 and Kells for 28 as the stunned crowd looked on. Three plays later, the Milford comeback was complete as Kells barreled in from a yard out for the first Eagle lead of the night, 39-35.
  • Fairfield took back possession with 1:22 to go at its own 43 with plenty of time to try to win. But there was also time for another Eagle to be a hero and this time it was Ayler. Doubling for much of the second half on both sides of the ball, Ayler hauled in his first career interception on the Indians’ first play and the jubilant Milford crowd broke into hysteria.

 

Notable

  • The win is the well documented first playoff victory for the Milford program. After a 30-plus year drought in qualifying for the postseason ended last year, the Eagles are now 1-2 all-time in the playoffs.
  • Kells finished with 107 yards on the ground for his ninth 100-yard rushing performance of the year. He now has 1,578 yards and 29 rushing touchdowns.
  • Hughes finished with a career-high 163 yards receiving and a pair of touchdowns. The effort was his fourth career 100-yard receiving games and third this year.
  • Ayler topped the 100-yard receiving mark for the second straight game, finishing with 101 yards on a game-high seven catches. It was Ayler’s third 100-yard game of the season and fifth of his career.
  • Johnson threw for 381 yards, his second 300-plus yard game of the year and easily the most by a Milford QB over the last decade. He pushed his season totals to 2,458 yards and 24 touchdowns.
  • Hayden Johnson led the defense with eight tackles. Phillips also had a big game with seven tackles in addition to his strip sack and fumble recovery.

 

Click here for the final Milford-Fairfield game stats.

 

Up Next

  • Milford, now with a single season record nine wins to its credit, will advance to the second round of the OHSAA Playoffs for the first time, facing top-ranked Colerain next Friday night. Location of the contest will be announced by the OHSAA on Sunday, with ticket information to follow.